Bradley singles; hitting streak at 26 games

May 21st, 2016

BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr.'s first true opportunity to extend his hitting streak in the Red Sox's 9-1 victory over the Indians on Saturday didn't come until the sixth inning. Until then, Cleveland was pitching around the strike zone, both intentionally and unintentionally, attempting to avoid a go-ahead blast from the red-hot hitter.

"I'm just going up there and sticking to my approach," Bradley said on whether or not the streak is always on his mind. "If it's meant to end, it's meant to end. I'm just going to do what I have to do and grind and put together some great at-bats."

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Bradley's streak continued to 26 games in the sixth inning on an infield single that looked like it was going into center field before Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis made a diving stop to his right.

Kipnis swiveled and threw the ball to first base as a charging Bradley stretched just in time to be called safe. The ruling was that first baseman Carlos Santana's foot came off the bag just as Bradley touched the base.

Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the call, but it stood after a review of 42 seconds, because the replay official couldn't definitively tell if Santana's foot was in contact with the bag while the ball was in his glove prior to Bradley getting to first.

"He's in a long streak here," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Bradley. "His footspeed allowed him to extend it by the ground ball. Kipnis makes a nice play, but his speed forces him to throw one errantly. He continues on."

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With that single, Bradley is eight games away from tying Dom DiMaggio's longest streak in franchise history.

Bradley was intentionally walked during his first at-bat and walked again in his second. After extending the streak during his third at-bat, Bradley was again intentionally walked in his fourth time at the plate -- this time by Kyle Crockett.

"Well, I think there was a clear strategy today," said Farrell. "They're not going to give him a chance. So we may have to adjust some things going forward just so he's got maybe a different slot in the lineup to be in the middle of potentially building an inning further."

Bradley not only showed off his skills at the plate on Saturday, but in the outfield as well. The outfielder made a sprinting, diving catch in shallow center field in the seventh, getting a grip on the ball with the inside pocket of his glove while Joe Kelly's no-hitter was still in progress.

"I didn't feel any pressure," Bradley said. "The play itself wasn't that hard, it was just the type of catch that I wanted to do. It was a sinking liner, and I just wanted to make sure I got under it."

With finesse and poise, Bradley made another smooth catch on a sailing flyout to center field in the ninth.

Bradley finished the game going 1-for-2 with one run and three walks, two of them being intentional.